Despite the slide in the region yesterday, the Asian markets will be the right place for investors to park their money, according to international investment bank Citigroup Global Markets. Given the strong rally in Asian stock markets this year, it is estimated that regional equity funds should have reaped at least a 20 per cent gain this year. To play safe, most fund managers now opted to lock in profits, with some simply playing around with other safer investments. 'The fund managers can now take an early Christmas holiday,' one trader said. For those looking forward to next year's investment, Citigroup suggested the Asian markets - be it on equities, fixed incomes or currencies. Stronger United States economic growth and a continued pick-up in regional consumption demand would continue to drive the economic growth in Asia. In addition, Asian equities were 10 per cent below fair value, said Ajay Kapur, a strategist at Citigroup. He expected Asian stocks to rise 20 per cent next year despite big gains this year. He is overweight in the information technology and domestic consumption sectors, and in South Korea and Taiwan. In the bond markets, regional corporate bonds have tightened this year but Citigroup remains bullish on Asian bond performance with a focus on high-yield and distressed assets, thanks to the credit rating upgrades in the region and strong regional liquidity. Likewise in the sovereign debt markets, the investment bank believes prospects for significant spread tightening from present levels appear limited, especially for high-grade countries such as South Korea, Malaysia and China, which would trade near their present levels. It recommends non-investment grade countries with decent fundamental prospects with Indonesia as the prime candidate. On currencies, Citigroup's Asia-Pacific economic and market analysis director Clifford Tan suggested investors buy Asian currencies on dips in the medium term in the wake of the ongoing growth and recovery and continued capital inflows into the region. However, he warned investors to avoid locking themselves up in the long ends of Asian yield curves as he expected the curves to steepen further, particularly in Thailand, Korea and Malaysia, as economic growth continued in the region.